Go Solar: tri-county energy campaign in full swing, accepting more applicants

Gorge Owned (GO!) is working with local solar contractors and partners to offer discounted, bulk rates on solar panel installations to Gorge homeowners in Skamania, Wasco and Hood River counties. Klickitat County residents can apply as well, although financial incentives are less in that county.

Now in its second year, GO! Solar is a community “solarize” initiative aimed at helping Gorge homeowners overcome the barriers associated with investing in solar power. Local contractors and suppliers are working together to offer a simplified process and affordable prices. Federal, state and Energy Trust of Oregon (for Pacific Power customers) incentives, along with the GO! Solar program discount, can cover up to 80 percent of the costs of a rooftop solar system.

The catch: Homeowners have to sign up for the program no later than March 31 to guarantee the bulk discounts. Forty-six people have signed up so far and the contractors can take on more.

“The Photo Voltaic (PV) Solar installation process was very easy,” said Craig Nicholson of Mt. Hood, who went through the program last year. “Once we contacted Go Solar in April, our request was forwarded to one of the participating installation companies, in our case Green Home Construction. Andrew of Green Home did the solar panel installation on the roof and Rafael of Land Electric did the electrical work. They were very professional and produced a very nice installation that passed building and electrical inspections without a hitch.”

A grid-tied solar system can save a homeowner money on their power bill. In fact, the average homeowner saves $1,000 a year when switching to a solar rooftop. A recent study also showed that rooftop solar can increase the home’s value by 4 percent.

Gorge Owned held two open houses on the GO! Solar program in Hood River and Stevenson with over 80 people attending. Interested homeowners can still sign up by going to the Gorge Owned website, gorgeowned.org, or by calling Program Director Amanda Lawrence at 541-490-3466.

GO! Solar is supported in part by the Energy Trust of Oregon and Platt Electric.

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